Countdown to Indictment

A MoJo Wire Timeline

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Well, we got what we wanted…sort of. Thanks in part to our Countdown to Indictment series, the House Ethics Committee has hired an outside counsel to investigate possible ethics violations by Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Throughout 1995, Mother Jones and the MoJo Wire worked in tandem to expose Newt’s questionable activities, wherever we might have found them: within his Political Action Committee, GOPAC; his televised college course, “Renewing American Civilization; his Progress & Freedom Foundation, and many other business dealings. When the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) was preparing to release thousands of GOPAC related-documents in December, the MoJo Wire was one of their research sources.

What we’ve done on this page is compile the articles and letters that were part of our Countdown to Indictment series. Some of the pages feature full-sized, scanned and readable correspondence between Gingrich and his cohorts, so you can make judgments for yourself. Oh, and just because we’re taking a moment to look back and reminisce on the past year, that doesn’t mean we’re resting on our laurels. In the future, we’ll be placing more documents online, including those submitted by the FEC.

As always, your comments are needed and appreciated. If you have something to say, please tell us.

  • Countdown to Indictment One
    In our May/June 1995 issue, editor-in-chief Jeffrey Klein exposed not only Gingrich’s questionable activities, but also a foot-dragging Democratic opposition research staff, a cabal of Republican lieutenants preparing for a Newt indictment, and Rush Limbaugh’s evasive, bullying maneuvering in the midst of ethical questions.

  • Countdown to Indictment Two: Will Newt Fall?
    By our July/August 1995 issue, we were able to state that Gingrich “has systematically built his empire through dubious transactions.” Glenn Simpson presented a detailed investigation of GOPAC, Gingrich’s college course at Kennesaw State College, his Progress & Freedom Foundation, as well as his haste in accomodating bills sponsored by Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.), who is also chairperson of the House Ethics Committee.

  • Coundown to Indictment Three: The Berman Letter
    $25,000 can go a long way, but can it help re-write policy? Glenn Simpson tracks down a letter and check sent to Gingrich by restaurant industry lobbyist Richard Berman, and discovers that soon after, Berman’s ideas were cropping up in Gingrich’s college course. You can see the full, scanned letter for yourself.

  • Countdown to Indictment Four: Newt Signs On
    Wherein Newt signs a copy of our magazine, and the press pleads ignorance of the whole GOPAC affair; take a peek at the number of GOPAC writeups in the press as they relate to the small-potatoes-in-comparison Whitewater affair.

  • Countdown to Indictment Five
    It’s the constant question in investigative journalism: who knew how much and when? In our November/December 1995 issue, we dug up correspondence between Gingrich, then-Tennessee governor Lamar Alexander and Alexander fundraiser Ted Welch. Gingrich brims with enthusiasm about GOPAC, but Alexander has a few reservations. The scanned documents included here tell the story.

  • Countdown to Indictment Six
    A MoJo Wire Exclusive: scanned copies of correspondence between Gingrich and Miller Nichols, a Kansas City-based real estate developer. Nichols gave GOPAC nearly $60,000 in funding; what did he want in return?


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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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